Fraunhofer IPM joins forces with Research Fab Microelectronics Germany

Integrated optical light sources for ion trap quantum computing

Presseinformation /

Quantum computing and neuromorphic computing are expected to take on computationally intensive tasks in the future. However, the step up from lab to real-world application for this next generation computing is yet to be realized, which is why the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) has joined forces with the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in order to harness its expertise in the field of photonics.

Digital computers are increasingly reaching their limits in terms of the processing power required for artificial intelligence or edge computing. However, in recent years, researchers (including those at FMD) have started to develop the basis for new technological approaches such as quantum computing and neuromorphic computing. Having joined forces with several Fraunhofer institutes, among them Fraunhofer IPM, the FMD now plans to take this research one step closer to a real-world application: With its “Module Quantum and Neuromorphic Computing” – an initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) – the FMD aims to establish the technical and structural infrastructure needed to develop the hardware and manufacturing techniques for this next generation of computers.

Targeted optimization of lithium niobate waveguides

One promising approach to quantum computing is ion trap quantum computing, which uses ions as computational building blocks (qubits). These qubits are held, manipulated, and read out using laser beams inside an “ion trap”. To date, only costly laboratory lasers have been used for this purpose. However, to take ion trap quantum computing to the next level, researchers need to develop integrated optical light sources with a high integration density, which can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale. Lithium niobate waveguides offer an excellent solution here, because they combine several key optical functions, which make them well suited to ion trap quantum computing. Fraunhofer IPM has conducted significant research in this area and therefore has much expertise to offer around the simulation, manufacture, and characterization of integrated optical lithium niobate waveguides.

As part of the research initiative, Fraunhofer IPM also plans to procure a “Focussed Ion Beam” system to enable it to optimize existing waveguide manufacturing processes. The aim is to reduce optical losses within the waveguide and adjust key waveguide components with nanometer accuracy – two vital steps to manufacture highly complex integrated photonic light sources with a high degree of reliability and precision.


Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) – Module Quantum and Neuromorphic Computing (FMD-QNC)

Cooperating partners

AMO GmbH, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Fraunhofer EMFT, Fraunhofer ENAS, Ferdinand-Braun-Institut gGmbH, Fraunhofer FHR, Fraunhofer HHI, Fraunhofer IAF, IHP GmbH, Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer IISB, Fraunhofer IMS, Fraunhofer IMWS, Fraunhofer IOF, Fraunhofer IPM, Fraunhofer IPMS, Fraunhofer ILT, Fraunhofer ISIT, Fraunhofer IZM.

About Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD)

For the first time, eleven institutes of the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics and the two Leibniz institutes FBH and IHP have been combining their expertise within the framework of the FMD since 2017 in order to achieve and expand a new quality level in the research, development and (pilot) production of semiconductor-based micro- and nanosystems. With more than 2,000 scientists, the FMD is one of the  largest and world-leading R&D associations for micro and
nanoelectronics applications and systems in Europe. As a global driver of innovation, the FMD provides a unique range of expertise and  infrastructures, while contributing to Germany and Europe's leading  position in research and development. This implies bridging the gap between basic research and cross-technology solutions, right through to customer-specific product development. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research provided funding for the modernization of the research infrastructure of the thirteen participating institutes from 2017 to 2021.